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Guidelines for determining the eligibility for patent protection of claimed subject matter of computer program related inventions

Annex I to Guidelines for examination of patent application attached to Decision No. 487/QB-SHTT dated March 31, 2010 of the Director General of the Intellectual Property Office of Vietnam, amended and supplemented under Decision No. 5196/QB-SHTT dated December 31, 2020 (hereinafter referred to as “Decision No. 487/QB-SHTT”) on Guidelines for determining the eligibility of claimed subject matter of computer program related inventions is issued by Intellectual Property Office of Vietnam under Decision No. 6193/QD-SHTT dated December 31, 2021 (hereinafter referred to as “Annex I”).

Annex I is the first result of Output 1 of the Project “Strengthening capacity in industrial property examination in IP Vietnam” using non-refundable ODA from Japan.

The assessment of whether a claimed subject-matter in a patent application related to computer program is eligible for patent protection is provided in section 5.8.2.5 of the Guidelines for examination of patent application (the “Guidelines”) attached to Decision No. 487/QB-SHTT. Accordingly, such a subject-matter is eligible if the program (software), when running on a computer (hardware), produces a further technical effect beyond the normal interaction between the program and the computer. Section 5.8.2.5 of the Guidelines also gives some examples of a further technical effect, such as controlling an industrial process, processing data representing physical entities, or implementing the internal functions of the computer itself or its interfaces under the influence of the program.

Computer programs are applied more and more widely in numerous areas of life to serve different needs and purposes, including non-technical character purposes. In examination practice, situations in which the subject is related to a computer program, including both technical features (for example, hardware- related) and non-technical features (implemented by the software), tend to increase. In many cases, it is not easy to identify whether such a subject-matter has a technical character or further technical effect beyond the normal interaction between the program and the computer.

Therefore, Annex I is to supplement guidelines for a better explanation of the provisions of section 5.8.2.5 of the Guidelines, in particular, the explanation of the further technical effect, some common features contributing to the technical character of the invention to produce the further technical effect, and the manner of handling the examination process.

Full text of Annex I can be retrieved here

English translation of Annex I for your reference can be retrieved here

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